Reader: International trade for SMEs declining

International trade by UK SMEs was in decline by 50 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter in 2016, according to a study by WorldFirst.

JD Alois’s article in Crowdfund Insider suggests the number of SMEs planning to export this quarter (29 per cent) is as low as it has been in the past 12 months. Around three quarters of small businesses in the survey said they expected their international revenues to remain stagnant or decline during the first quarter of 2018.

WorldFirst’s gloomy assessment is that there is “rock-bottom confidence” in international trade, a sentiment fuelled by fluctuations in sterling, inflation fears and uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations.

But despite the negativity, there may be light at the end of the tunnel, with SMEs looking at returning to international trade post-Brexit – 41 per cent admitted to being positive about the UK leaving the EU, compared with only 33 per cent the previous year.